WHAT IS A TROPHY?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Stretch, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Stretch

    Stretch AH Fanatic

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    The word trophy typically refers to large record book skull or horns then mounted and displayed as a keepsake of a successful hunting expedition. A hunt based on the size of trophies taken falls far short of what the ultimate goal should be. An animal is most certainly the object of hunting, but it becomes an anti-climax when compared to the pleasure derived from every facet of the hunt. To me, the meaning of trophy entails other things besides horn size. I enjoy the entire process, the planning and preparation, the excitement of adventure, the sustained suspense and challenge of matching wits against the instincts of the animal I am pursuing. The companionship of spending time with partners as well as the making new friends is special. In my opinion to many hunters rate the success of a hunting trip by the size of the trophy they shoot. When I hunt I try to go after a older mature animal. It's great if this animal has trophy horns, but no matter how big the animal I refuse to measure the inches. After a hunting trip a common question I am asked is "what did it score?" as if to measure my success compared to someone else. If the score is lower does that mean is was less of a challenge or less rewarding? I hunt because it is the most direct, most visceral connection I can find to this awesome planet we inhabit. Nothing in my life outside of the time I spend in the outdoors is as effective at renewing my spirit. Hunting is my therapy. This is my trophy.

    What is a trophy to you?
     
  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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  3. Mrbuck001

    Mrbuck001 AH Member

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    Yes.......i was asking myself that same question last fall. I am from Denmark - Northern Europe and went to Hungary to shoot fallow deer. In Europe one pay for the weight of the trophy (the horn), not the animal itself. The prize of a real top trophy is absurd, an has led to manipulation of trophies. Some are bred in captivity and set free, for the "hunter" to shoot. The same is the case with "canned lions" in South Africa.
    However i can not afford trophies like that, and to my satisfaction i found that a good trophy, for me, is not the most heavy. A guy shot a massive gold medal fallow deer of 4,7 kg. The cost was 4 times my trophy at 2,9 kg, but the guide and myself still think that my trophy is the better. A top trophy for me is a symmetric, good colored and average size head. And as i had the opportunity to had the trophy meassured, it was 2 points from a gold medal. Not because of the weight, but more of the beauty of it.
    I am off to South Africa soon, and my expectations are high, but only regard to the quality of the head, not the size.

    Regards Peter View attachment 10698
     
  4. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    This is one of the most loaded question in hunting.In the last month of getting quotes I have learn alot both ways on this subject.Some people kind of get offend when you talk wanting to hunt a certain size animals other say thats what we will do.I think goals and what a trophy is are two different things.To me the trophy is the next animal I will pull the trigger on or release the arrow on.Some of my goals are a 30" mule deer,350" bull elk,58" kudu,40"oryx,16"springbuck,28"nyala,15"bushbuck and so many others I hope to hunt.I think as long as you decide it is a trophy in your eyes and not you PH's or guides eyes you can't be wrong.In my search for that size i will be taking plenty of trophy in my eyes that may not be trophys in anyone else.My favorite trophy of all are the ones my son takes as I am standing beside him enjoying the time we share.
     
  5. Packsy

    Packsy AH Senior Member

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    With me being a rookie hunter and Stretch here to quide me, I must say I really don't have a "trophy" description. I guess if I would get a large animal I would be interested in how it compares to others, just because I want to see how I am doing. I am not saying I have to shoot a trophy or would pass up a smaller animal for a trophy that "might" come along. I don't have a problem shooting a doe and a smaller buck, or other animal. My trophy is the quality of my hunt. The preparation of the trip, the adventure of the hunt, and the fun of being with family and friends. I just really like being outdoors.:nice:
     
  6. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    What is a trophy? I would say it's like beauty, it's in the eyes of the beholder. I started hunting in 1986 after my freshman year in college. It wasn't until after I graduated, in 1991 that I killed my first whitetail. The five previous seasons I never even had the opportunity to even think of pulling the trigger on a deer.

    So about 3 weeks after I got married, I awoke at about 2am in Dallas and made the drive down to Waco to meet a friend and off from there for another 30 minute drive to his brother's ranch. About an hour or so after first light a buck walked out in front of me. I raised the rifle, a piece of junk Remington 7400 semi-auto and took careful aim and squeezed the trigger and...............NOTHING HAPPENED!! I pulled the bolt back as I had obviously not put one in the chamber and out popped a live round onto the floor of the stand I was in, clanking around. The deer was spooked but just jumped a little and stayed in place. So I eased the bolt forward and watched the round feed into the chamber. I took aim again and squeezed that trigger and once again nothing happened. The deer walked off.

    I got down out of the stand and somehow figured out with these semi-autos you have to let the bolt slam shut. So back up into the stand I went. About 30 minutes later a deer came out of the thick hill country brush and turned and walked right at me, great no shot due to the angle. About half way to the stand the deer knew something was up and swapped ends. Great, still no shot that I was willing to take. The deer was going to basically go back the way he had come in but had to make a slight turn before going back into the brush giving me a strong quartering away shot. I placed the cross hairs just behind the last rib and shot, the deer was knocked over but got back up and was instantly in the thick stuff. I got out of the stand and found a big splatter of blood on the ground where he was when I shot. As I got to the brush I got down on my hands and knees and after just getting into the brush I could see he hadn't made it 10 yards and was stone dead.

    The little buck was just a 6 point (3 x 3) basket rack certainly not worth even the thought of putting tape to. You think he wasn't a trophy to me? Well I had a skull plate mount done and it still hangs on my wall!

    If you think it's a trophy, it is. As I started having more success in my hunting during my late 20's and early 30's, I started chasing "trophy only" animals in search of my hunting buddies praise. After awhile I noticed that I was not enjoying hunting as much and basically said to hell with it and started taking that which I wanted to take and stopped emphasizing size so much. Funny thing when I did this, I started having much more success on the so called "trophy quality" sized animals.

    Enjoy your hunt, it's yours and no one else's. If that means chasing record book class animals, so be it, just do it because that's what works for you. If that's not what you want to do and you prefer taking lesser sized animals, then go for it and don't worry about what others have to say.

    One of my favorite trophies is in the pic below, an impala that I didn't take, it was my wife's, her first animal of any kind.

    IMG_9920.jpg
     
  7. Safari Afrika

    Safari Afrika AH Enthusiast

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    I would say the "trophy" is the whole experience ! To me it does not matter how big the animal is or how many we shoot ! The Experience and all that goes with it is my "Trophy" !

    Richard Lemmer
     
  8. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I think everyone is right. A trophy is what one thinks is a trophy in there own mind, it is the chase the take or even the passing on one the memory that lives on for years after the hunt is over oh and one of my favorite telling your friends about it over and over again just to bug them love that stuff. ;)
     
  9. jepetto62

    jepetto62 AH Veteran

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    Very good post!
    I am just surprised that those responding all agree, based on the current replies we all are aligned and one would deduct nobody ever goes for trophy book animals.
    On a pure management basis, shooting top animals in their prime is not a good thing. It does deplete the population of the good genes. At one point some regions in Germany imposed a strict lower limit on deers and roedeers, this was changed after trophy quality went down the drain. And look at some region in BC, where the six-points limit on elk pushed the 5 points population up!.
    Now, the ideal situation (the one I seek), is old top trophy holders. I have personally much more pride shooting a old dugga-boy, with well used horns, even broken ones, than a 45'' 5 year bull... I am also at a time when, hunting for roedeer for example, I seek atypical heads, or try to put myself in situations where seeking the trophy involves impossible and complicated stalks...
    One of my favorite trophy is a 3 points moose (!!!), that I had to shoot in self-defense, last minute, because in charged me in Newfoundland (it was the rutting season). I had much more emotion with this one than the 59'' huge bull shot in BC...
     
  10. Safari Afrika

    Safari Afrika AH Enthusiast

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    I also agree that this is a great topic ! The reason why I say the whole experience is the trophy is that people our hunters have become very self-centred and chase the recordbook instead of the animal in the process loosing out on the " HUNT " . Do not get me wrong .... I offer trophy hunting , but with us it is about the whole experience . If we were unsuccessful and we can share the good experience around the fire , to me that is part of the " trophy ". !
     
  11. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    On my first safari, I shot a 20" hartebeest, which is a quite normal trophy.

    We took him to the skinning shed, and the head skinner told me "very good, very old", while pointing at the thickness of the horns.

    I was the proudest hunter on earth !
     
  12. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    I compare hunting to the major sports. Just like athletes, one can become poisoned by the money or the size of the trophies. I played the game of baseball because I love the game! I hunt because I am obsessed with "the hunt". As I get older my approach is a little different. I no longer shoot the small does or the little bucks. One of my best trophies was an old doe that I played cat and mouse with for a few days. I finally got a shot at her. Tuff position for the shot but I threaded the needle through some brush. I was proud of what I had done. That is what made the trophy for me. There will be the ones who go for the 200" whitetail or the 42" gemsbok, or a 55" Kudu, There always will be. I am not one to judge what your trophy is. As long as you keep hunting and support other hunters in their quest. Even if it does not meet your goals. So in short a trophy is in the eye of the beholder.
     
  13. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    A trophy to me is something I keep after an animal I have shot. I don't keep something from all the animals I have shot, or I would need some serious space for it all:p

    First of all is beauty more important than size to me. And beauty is as always in the eye of the beholder:)
    I don't care about what trophies score at all, but for many species I think the horns/antlers become more beautiful with size.
    To me all the antlers from Roe deer is a trophy. I keep them all, no matter the size.
    I have not kept any Red deer antlers as I have not shot any that I think was worth keeping.
    Same with Reindeer.
    I have kept only one from Moose.
    I have only kept one Fallow deer spike. I kept that because it was my first Fallow and I had a great time during the hunt.

    One of the trophies I like the most is from a very old Roe Buck that had had been a huge one in his younger days and the hunters that had the lease before us for many years, had hunted him hard for the last 5 years before we got the lease.
    I spent many hours/days stalking him and it was a great feeling to finally manage to shoot him and I couldn't care less that his antlers would score very little if measured.
    I love to hunt old mature animals and they are the biggest trophies to me, no matter what they score.
    When I go to Marius this year, I rather shoot an old 46" Kudu with worn down horns and no broken tips than a younger bull with 50" or a 52" bull with one broken tip.
     
  14. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    The most beautiful trophy I have ever laid my eyes on was a 109 inch 8 point whitetail when my son shot it. He was 11 years old at the time, shot with a 6mm rem, and the look on his face was,,,,,,amazing,,,,.... He felt like I did when I shot his first Pope and Young. He compared it to mine and said, "your buck is a lot bigger" i told him that the joy his success gave me, meant more to me than anything I harvested yet, and that this is one of those time where size doesn't matter. My second oldest son shot a 6 pointer at about 30yrds further than what i limited him to, it grossed 68 inches, but again, he was livid when he saw it, using the same rifle as his older brother did the year before, dropped the little buck in his tracks. Again, the question of size came into play. These boys did something for me that no one, anywhere, could never replace, and I did something that no one else could do for them, kill their first animal with the old man.

    I think that if the animal/hunt meant a lot to you, and you want to have it mounted, then he is a trophy. Previously mentioned, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are quite a few people who think Blue Wildebeest are ugly (my wife being one of those people),,, me I could hunt those beauties all year round, and have every one of them on the wall..

    Great thread
     
  15. iamyourhuckleberry

    iamyourhuckleberry AH Enthusiast

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    A trophy is a memory. Sometimes it's tangible, while other times it is not. Trophies come in all shapes and sizes....I have plenty and look forward to getting more! And yes, sometimes a trophy can be a really big set of horns, but the horns are not what drives me.
     
  16. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    ditto:thumb:
     
  17. CT Safaris

    CT Safaris AH Enthusiast

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    For me personally the trophy is the memories associated to the hunt... Getting a record book animal is just the cherry on top.

    My daughter (then 11) with the first Kudu bull we hunted on our new ranch back in '07:

    [​IMG]

    I've hunted a lot of Zebra but this one stands out for me:

    [​IMG]

    My good friend (and client) jpj3 and I switched roles during the first of several hunts together... Knowing that my wife wanted an extra Zebra rug; he handed me his .375 when we saw this stallion and said: "go ahead - take it". I think the expression on my face says it all...
     

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  18. iamyourhuckleberry

    iamyourhuckleberry AH Enthusiast

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    Most excellent CT, congrats to you and your daughter for some fine trophies! Or, should I have said captured memories? AWESOME!
     
  19. Stretch

    Stretch AH Fanatic

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    Trophy = experience or a memory of a hunt/animal taken in an ethical manner.

    A hunter has to decide by his/her own conscience what conduct is ethical. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this fact. For the memory of the trophy taken will be tainted without this self-imposed standard. Most of the hunter I have known, and certainly the most interesting ones, have had the capacity to ramble about outdoors for the mere happiness of it, always alert to the presence of the critters, amused by the sight of a bird or squirrel preparing for winter, or by the puzzle of animal tracks on the ground. These hunters have grasp the realization of what a true trophy means. I am glad to be able to spend my time hunting with some of these people. I can see by the many comments that the AH community is filled with hunters that hold these values and do not judge others by the size of the animal taken, but rather are truly happy to hear the other members stories regardless the size of the trophy.
     
  20. Wolverine67

    Wolverine67 AH Fanatic

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    Very, very well stated! I fully agree.
     

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